Supreme Court hears arguments in execution case

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The Tennessee Supreme Court questioned why the attorneys for 10 death row inmates would need to know the names of the people who carry out Tennessee’s executions.

Inmates are challenging the constitutionality of the state’s execution procedures, and the court’s questions were posed during a hearing in the case Thursday.

Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Smith argued that the names of the individuals were irrelevant to the case. She argued that the identity of the person carrying out the state’s protocols doesn’t affect whether the protocols are constitutional.

Plaintiff’s attorney Steve Kissinger, an assistant federal defender from Knoxville, said the names could be important for establishing proof in the case. The Davidson County Chancery Court earlier this year ordered the state to turn over the names, and the Tennessee Court of Appeals upheld that order.